Cheltenham Festival Tips
Expert tips for the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.
Eye On Cheltenham Week 11 - Week ending 12/1/20
We take a look through all the major movers and developments in the betting for the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, after this week’s racing culminated with Kempton, Warwick and Punchestown on Sunday 12th January.
A fairly quiet week on the Cheltenham Festival developments front, but there were still a few important moves to report. We’ll start off with Frodon, who returned to top form in resounding fashion at Kempton, defeating Keeper Hill and Top Notch in the Silviniaco Conti Chase with an excellent front-running display.
Limp performances in the Old Roan and the Betfair Chase had seen the reigning Ryanair winner slip down to 16/1 with some firms in the Festival betting. After his sparkling victory at Kempton on Saturday though, Frodon shortened for the Ryanair across the boards, with William Hill going as short as 6/1 joint-second favouritism.
Elsewhere on Saturday, there were a couple of decent Graded races to take in at Warwick. The first of which was the Hampton Novices’ Chase, which saw Two For Gold preserve his unbeaten record over fences with a hard-fought victory over Hold The Note. While Two For Gold had his odds for the National Hunt Chase cut from 40s into 12/1 with Paddy Power, Hold The Note was installed as the new 12/1 favourite for the Close Brothers’ Handicap – a race his trainer Mick Channon won with Mister Whitaker two years ago.
Mossy Fen then got up under the shadow of the post to beat Décor Irlandais and Shan Blue in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge looked beaten turning for home, but rallied gamely under pressure to secure a narrow victory. The Leamington may be seen as a key trial for the Ballymore, but Mossy Fen looked a guaranteed stayer of three-mile on Saturday, so it was no surprise to see Twiston-Davies’ novice cut from 33s into 20/1 for the Albert Bartlett by Unibet.
Never Adapt got off the mark for Nicky Henderson in the card-closing Handicap Hurdle at Kempton, earning herself fresh quotes of 14/1 for the County Hurdle with Unibet following a career-best display. Over in Ireland, Annamix proved himself a chaser to follow with a resounding triumph on his first start over the larger obstacles, forcing Coral to cut Willie Mullins’ charge into 20/1 for the Arkle.
Another Willie Mullins chaser to impress with weekend was Carefully Selected, who comfortably saw off City Island to win the two-and-a-half-mile Killiney Novices’ Chase at Punchestown on Sunday. Following that 24-length demolition, Mullins stated the National Hunt Chase would be right up Carefully Selected’s street – should he qualify for the race between now and Cheltenham – causing William Hill to cut the former Champion Bumper runner-up into 5/1 favouritism for the former four-miler.
Sunday’s feature at Punchestown provided Andy Dufresne with a shot at redemption in the Moscow Flyer, having fallen to a surprise defeat in the Navan Novices’ Hurdle before Christmas. On his first start over two miles, Gordon Elliott’s charge was backed into 8/15 favouritism, but was forced to work hard for his victory by the tenacious Captain Guinness, who only relinquished the lead in the strides before the line.
On that back of that three-quarter length success, Andy Dufresne was cut into 10/1 for both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore by Ladbrokes, whilst remaining a 16/1 shot for the Albert Bartlett. Captain Guinness also impressed enough to see his Festival odds shorten, with Coral now listing Henry De Bromhead’s five-year-old as a 16/1 shot for the Supreme.
At Thurles on Thursday, Ard Abhainn secured a comfortable victory in a Listed Hurdle for first-season mares. Gordon Elliott’s youngster was cut into 16/1 to win the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle by Paddy Power, with Heaven Help Us – who came into the race having followed Abacadabras home in a Grade One over Christmas – drifting out to 25s having finished a well-beaten third.
There was also a notable performance from Mick Pastor earlier in the week at Ludlow. Paul Nicholls’ youngster was extremely fresh on his stable debut at Cheltenham’s November Meeting, but looked much more composed as he bolted up in a Juvenile Hurdle on Wednesday, earning himself fresh quotes in Unibet’s market for the Triumph Hurdle.
Day One Tips
|Time||Race||Our Tip||Our Tip|
|12:00||Supreme Novices' Hurdle|
12:00–Supreme Novices' Hurdle
|12:00||Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase|
12:00–Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase
|12:00||Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase|
12:00–Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase
|12:00||David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle|
12:00–David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle
|12:00||Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase|
12:00–Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase
|12:00||National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase|
12:00–National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase
2020 Unibet Champion Hurdle Ante-Post Tip
Unbeaten as a novice last season, claiming Grade One victories at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown in excellent fashion during the spring. KLASSICAL DREAM’s 100% record was shattered in the recent Morgiana Hurdle, but Willie Mullins’ star wouldn’t have been suited by the slow pace of that Grade One and should come on leaps and bounds for the run.
On soft ground around a real galloping track like Leopardstown and Cheltenham, I won’t be siding against Klassical Dream. I still think he’s the top-dog in the two-mile division.
2020 National Hunt Chase Ante-Post Tips
Unfairly branded “the worst horse Gigginstown own” after his triumph in the 2017 Martin Pipe, CHAMPAGNE CLASSIC made Michael O’Leary eat his words by defeating Penhill in the Grade One staying hurdle at Punchestown a few weeks later. Gordon Elliott’s charge then missed a whole year through injury, but shaped nicely on both his starts over fences last season, placing in two good-quality Graded races.
Champagne Classic was my ante-post selection in the 2019 running of the National Hunt Chase, only for injury to intervene again and rule Elliott’s eight-year-old out of the meeting again. The former Festival winner has been out twice already this term – a fact which points towards a trouble-free offseason – winning a novice contest at Fairyhouse before an effortless triumph over Discorama in a Listed race at Wexford.
Such has been the quality of his performances during the autumn, I don’t think Champagne Classic would look out of place if he ran in the RSA at Cheltenham. However, Elliott has already identified the National Hunt Chase as his Festival objective and Jamie Codd will more-than-likely take the ride. If he stays fit – and that has proven a very big if over the last two years – then Champagne Classic will be very hard to beat in this three-and-three-quarter mile
Day Two Tips
|Time||Race||Our Tip||Our Tip|
|12:00||Ballymore Novices' Hurdle|
12:00–Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
|12:00||RSA Novices' Chase|
12:00–RSA Novices' Chase
|12:00||Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle|
12:00–Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
|12:00||Queen Mother Champion Chase|
12:00–Queen Mother Champion Chase
|12:00||Glenfarclas Cross Country|
12:00–Glenfarclas Cross Country
|12:00||Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle|
12:00–Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
2020 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Tip
ENVOI ALLEN couldn’t have been any more impressive on his jumping debut earlier this month. Gordon Elliott’s Champion Bumper winner looked a natural on his hurdling debut, winning comfortably without ever coming off the bridle. Envoi Allen then followed up in the Grade One Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, comfortably holding stablemate Abacadabras at arm’s length.
Elliott’s charge doesn’t look short of speed and, with the fitness of stablemate Malone Road still up in the air, there is a chance Envoi Allen could end up in the Supreme. That being said, Gordon Elliott has chosen to target the Ballymore with his top novice hurdler in recent seasons and that race would suit Envoi Allen perfectly.
2020 Champion Chase Tips
With Altior set to move up in trip for this season then the two-mile division looks very open. I think however there is a clear standout to claim the crown and dominate the division, CHACUN POUR SOI.
This gelding has always been held in high regard by Willie Mullins, but they have had to be patient in getting him to overcome various issues and injuries since buying him from France. He showed last spring that ability is something he has in abundance with an electric display in a beginner’s chase.
That form was nothing special, but nobody could argue about the strength of the Grade One he took home at Punchestown. That day he beat both the Arkle and the JLT winners, and for me confirmed himself the outstanding chaser of his novice class. Provided connections can keep him sound I’m sure he will have a very impressive season and I’m backing him to win the Champion Chase.
2020 Cross Country Tips
A fairly obvious selection you might say, but by the time Cheltenham rolls around, you won’t find a price better than evens on TIGER ROLL making it three in a row in the Cross Country, so the time to back Gordon Elliott’s stable star is right now.
Elliott has already outlined Tiger Rolls route back to the Grand National, where he will bid to become the first horse in history to win that famous handicap three times in a row. A return to the Boyne Hurdle Tiger Roll won last season is first on the agenda, before Keith Donoghue’s mount bids to land a hat-trick of Cross Country victories, having retained his crown with a stunning 22-length triumph in 2019.
Day Three Tips
|Time||Race||Our Tip||Our Tip|
|12:00||JLT Novices' Chase|
12:00–JLT Novices' Chase
|12:00||Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final|
12:00–Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final
|12:00||Brown Advisory Plate Handicap Chase|
12:00–Brown Advisory Plate Handicap Chase
|12:00||Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle|
12:00–Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle
|12:00||Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders Handicap Chase|
12:00–Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders Handicap Chase
2020 JLT Novices' Chase Tips
Despite the potential presence of the likes of Samcro and Laurina in opposition in Thursday’s JLT Novices’ Chase, BLACK OP may well prove to be the one to side with, if Tom George can get the Sandmason gelding to Cheltenham in one piece.
A top-class hurdler during the 2017/18 season, he was the only one to get anywhere near close to the then-imperious Samcro when clashing swords with Gordon Elliott’s charge in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. A last-flight mistake might have cost him that day, but Black Op later made amends with victory over Lostintranslation in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle.
Things didn’t go to plan for him last term over fences or hurdles, failing to win in any of his starts, and Black Op signed off his campaign with a disappointing third at Sandown. His jumping of fences had left a lot to be desired when beaten both starts over the larger obstacles, and he possibly just failed to see out three miles reverted to hurdles in the second half of the season.
Back over fences for this campaign, he got off to an impressive start at Stratford, jumping with more fluency than had been the case, having transitioned to a front-running role. If he can continue to show that level of progress this term, then he may well yet turn into a top-class chaser.
The JLT looks his ideal distance, and he is one who could well improve markedly back over fences this term. Despite racing over the larger obstacles last term, he still qualifies for a novice campaign, where his experience may prove crucial and he certainly has the scope to make a big impression.
Black Op doesn’t have the best Cheltenham record, but he’s interesting nonetheless with the potential for better still to come as a chaser. He could take high order this term as a middle-distance chaser if continuing to show progress.
2020 Stayers' Hurdle Tips
PAISLEY PARK’S ascent to the top of the staying ranks started at Aintree last autumn, where he won a handicap rated 140. Emma Lavelle’s stable star ended the campaign on a stunning mark of 169, having powered to victory in the JLT Hurdle, the Cleeve Hurdle and the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Progressed beyond all expectations last season and there’s no reason why he can’t improve even further. Paisley Park is the one to beat over three miles once again.
Day Four Tips
|Time||Race||Our Tip||Our Tip|
|12:00||County Handicap Hurdle|
12:00–County Handicap Hurdle
|12:00||Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle|
12:00–Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
|12:00||Cheltenham Gold Cup|
12:00–Cheltenham Gold Cup
|12:00||Martin Pipe Novices' Handicap Hurdle|
12:00–Martin Pipe Novices' Handicap Hurdle
|12:00||Grand Annual Handicap Chase|
12:00–Grand Annual Handicap Chase
2020 Gold Cup Tips
Immediately after his victory in the Dipper in January, Robbie Power proclaimed LOSTINTRANSLATION was a potential Gold Cup horse. Those who scoffed were made to eat their words, as Colin Tizzard’s charge ended last season with a superb victory in the Mildmay at Aintree, before kicking off his 2019/20 campaign with a faultless performance at Carlisle.
Lostintranslation is a brilliant jumper, with Grade One-winning pedigree and remains open to progression over three miles. If I had to back one horse to win the Gold Cup right now, it would be Lostintranslation.
Cheltenham Festival Tips
Very few sporting events each year produce the excitement and anticipation quite like the Cheltenham Festival. Four days of the best jump racing action each March sees leading contenders from Britain and Ireland do battle at the picturesque Prestbury Park.
A total of 14 Grade One races are contested across the four days including four premier championship races named the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and Gold Cup.
Our tipsters share their expert predictions and tips ahead of every single race at Cheltenham, with a whole host of great value bets.
Tips for every race at Cheltenham
While the four Champion races take much of the spotlight there are 14 grade 1 races and 28 races in total, with over £4.5 million in prize money to be won.
Our team have betting tips for all 28 races including the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle.
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